Globalization has come to an NBA roster near you.
The season opens this week with 84 players born outside the United States on NBA rosters, or about 20 percent. That is the highest number of international players ever in the NBA.
There are 38 countries or territories represented on the list, and players are on 28 of the 30 NBA teams, with Toronto leading the way with six players.
What country has the most? France at 11, just like you guessed. Second is Turkey with five, which helps explain how they got all the way to the finals of the FIBA World Championships this summer. Well, that and they hosted the games and had a crazy-loud home crowd.
Here in the NBA, what matters simply is “can you play” not where you are from. As it should be. Let the ball talk. To borrow and (and modify) Sheed’s line, ball don’t lie.
What did Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Chauncey Billups and the rest of Team USA get for winning the gold medal at the FIBA World Championships in Turkey.
The bonus was $25,000. Which in case you’re curious is about 0.4 percent of what Kevin Durant will make this season. Some nice pocket change for him.
Chris Sheridan of ESPN asked Turkish center Semih Erden (now of the Celtics) what they got and… well, Durant might consider seeing if he can get Turkish citizenship (as written up at TrueHoop, noticed by SLAM).
Erden told me that each of the players on the Turkish National Team that won the silver medal at last month’s World Championship received a bonus of 1 million Turkish Lira (about $700,000) along with a free villa/apartment, courtesy of a wealthy Turkish real estate mogul who wanted to reward them for their success.
Erden will make about $473,000 as a member o the Celtics. So, he more than doubled his salary and picked up a nice Turkish villa in the process. The Bulls Omar Asik got about a 45 percent pay bump, while Ersan Ilyasova made about a 33 percent pay increase. Hedo Turkoglu… he just got richer and people in Toronto just got more ticked off.
Take that Durant. Turkey beat you somewhere.
Marcin Gortat is not just a big body in there to bang and grab rebounds and not screw up while Dwight Howard gets a blow for the Magic.
He wants you to know he can shoot — sure he only took one shot a game last season but he hit 53 percent of then. At the FIBA World Championships this summer playing for Poland “The Hammer” dropped 23 in one game, 29 in another and led the whole tournament in shooting percentage.
He wants the rock more in Orlando.
But “the man” is holding him down — and that man is all his teammates as well as turtleneckless Stan Van Gundy. That’s what Gortat essentially told the Orlando Sentinel.
“There are days when I’m about to explode and just say a couple of things or go to the coach and tell him what I want to do,” Gortat said. “I feel like I’m one of the guys who has to sacrifice a lot to adjust to this team. I can tell you that it’s not easy.”
The Orlando Magic, meanwhile, are not overly concerned about Gortat’s desire to play more offense. During the team’s 3 1/2- hour meeting last Monday, his teammates told him they wanted him to focus on his role of defending, rebounding and running the floor….
“A lot of players feel that they can do more than what everybody’s asking them to do,” Howard said. “But you’ve gotta know your role. Teams that win championships, everybody knows their role.”
So long as Gortat is defending and rebounding, he really should get some touches. He can score. That will never be his primary role on this team — nor should it be — but he can run the inside-out offense, too.
Just ask him.